Medical Minute: Smoking - kick the habit

By  | 

MINOT, N.D. - There are currently more than a hundred thousand active adult smokers in the state of North Dakota, a number that many health care providers in the state are trying to bring down.

Cigarette smoking continues to be the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the country.

In this week's Medical Minute we spoke with Trinity about the dangers of cigarette smoke and kicking the habit.

The CDC says that in the U.S. cigarette smoking accounts for one of every five deaths.

Many are from preventable diseases such as COPD or chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

It can even decrease athletic ability in young people.

According to First District Health, nearly 4,600 high schoolers are active smokers. The health center is using Kick Butts day to stop the trend.

"New daily smokers each year, by that I mean under the age of 18, are 300, and adults who smoke in North Dakota are 18.7 percent. All of that has reduced since we've been working with a fully comprehensive program," said Mary Hanretty, First District Health Unit Tobacco Prevention Coordinator.

But the habit is not so easy to quit.

"Tobacco and nicotine addiction is one of the more addictive substances that you'll find," said Heidi Bender, Trinity pulmonary critical care nurse practitioner.

Bender says if a young person starts smoking in their teen years, roughly four out of five will continue to smoke as adults.

Whether it's the patch, gum, or going cold turkey once over the hump ex-smokers seem to be much happier.

"Most people that have stopped smoking, I have found in my experience, are very happy that they did. Most of them always say I wish I would have done it years ago. They feel better, they have more energy, they don't have as much sinus problems, they don't get sick as often," said Bender.

The CDC says that current smoking has declined from nearly 21 percent in 2005 to about 15 percent in 2015.

Though kicking the habit can be a challenge it's a challenge that some are taking to gain a happy and healthier life.

If you need help quitting you can reach out to NDQuits, First District Health Unit, and youngsters can even talk to their parents, teachers, and counselors.

First District is hosting two Kick Butts events on March 28 at TGU schools.